When the nation bows its head Tuesday evening for Remembrance Day it will be
mourning the 22,993 servicemen and women who fell defending the Land of Israel
since 1860 – the year the first Jews left Jerusalem’s Old City walls to settle
other parts of the country.
In the past year, 126 soldiers and other
security personnel died in service of the state. Remembrance Day officially
begins at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, when a one-minute siren will sound across the
country. President Shimon Peres will open the official ceremony at the Western
Wall attended by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz as well as
representatives of bereaved parents.
On Wednesday, the main memorial will
take place at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery. A two-minute siren will sound
at 11 a.m. and a ceremony for overseas Mahal volunteers who fought and died
during the War of Independence will take place at the Mahal memorial near the
Sha’ar Hagai junction, west of the capital.
Ceremonies will be held at an
additional 44 cemeteries around the country. The Defense Ministry expects more
than 1.5 million people to visit cemeteries throughout the day.
of Remembrance Day, the ministry has placed a miniature flag and black ribbon on
the graves of all the soldiers in military cemeteries across the
On Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will bring to the
cabinet a proposal to establish a memorial hall at Mount Herzl to honor the
nation’s fallen. The hall will cost an estimated NIS 40 million, half of which
will come from the defense budget. It will be built in the shape of a torch
rising some 18 meters where a fire will burn all year long.
The walls of
the hall will be lined with bricks with the names of fallen soldiers engraved on
them in chronological order.
This is the ninth year that the Defense
Ministry has provided a service to help people locate the graves of their loved
ones. It not only provides the block and parcel of a grave, but also gives a map
of the best route to take from the gate of the military cemetery. The ministry
has also purchased more than one million flowers, which it will distribute free
at the state cemeteries.
The service is available on a website sponsored
by the ministry’s Department for Commemorating Soldiers and programmed by a
civilian firm at www.izkor.gov.il.